Mak­ing room for Le Tour tourists can pay off

The full scale of this sum­mer’s friendly in­va­sion is be­com­ing ap­par­ent and own­ers are keen to cash in on the big race. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

THE mag­ni­tude of the Tour de France in­va­sion is fi­nally be­gin­ning to dawn on those who live on and near the route of York­shire’s Grand Dé­part.

With two to three mil­lion vis­i­tors ex­pected, the world’s big­gest bike race looks set to put enor­mous pres­sure on re­sources. Many B&Bs, hol­i­day lets and camp­sites are now booked up and car parks are look­ing woe­fully in­ad­e­quate.

As pre­vi­ously men­tioned in Property Post, there is an op­por­tu­nity for home­own­ers to let rooms or even a whole house. You can earn up to £4,125 tax free un­der the HMRC’s Rent-a-Room scheme. If you let your whole property, then you may be li­able for tax.

Nel Har­grave, of www. worth­the­tour.org.uk, a group set up to pro­mote com­mu­nity events in and around Ha­worth dur­ing the race, is con­sid­er­ing rent­ing a self-con­tained base­ment in her Ox­en­hope cot­tage. Mean­while, those with land are look­ing at turn­ing fields into tem­po­rary car parks and camp­sites.

“There are quite a few camp sites set­ting up in this area,” says Nel. “Ha­worth Young Farm­ers are work­ing with Manor­lands Hospice to set up camp sites so they can raise funds for the char­ity.”

Over in Masham, landowner Patrick War­ring­ton is mov­ing the sheep off his fields to cre­ate space for a camp­site, a car park and food stalls.

“We are ex­pect­ing 20,000 to 30,000 people on the day. This is the big­gest an­nual sport­ing event in the world and so it seemed silly not to try and do some­thing. Cre­at­ing a camp­ing area, park­ing for 2,000 cars and lay­ing on food was the ob­vi­ous thing,” says Patrick, who is plan­ning to charge car own­ers £10 for the day, while giv­ing cy­clists free ac­cess and a lock up area for their bikes.

“Set­ting it all up is fairly straight for­ward. We’re putting show­ers and toi­lets in for the campers and you have to have good ac­cess in and out of the field for safety rea­sons. You also need pub­lic li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance.”

One of the big­gest is­sues is pro­mo­tion. Patrick sug­gests Face­book, Twit­ter and set­ting up a web­site, though you are not al­lowed to use “le Tour” in the ti­tle. He has used www. mashamevents.co.uk.

“If you want to rent a room I’d put a sign up in the gar­den or in the win­dow be­cause we are al­ready get­ting a lot of cy­clists go­ing round the route and there is a def­i­nitely a need for ac­com­mo­da­tion,” he says. “It’s not just vis­i­tors, there are hun­dreds of Tour staff who need some­where to stay.”

Those who want to cash in by cre­at­ing camp­sites and car parks should also check with their lo­cal author­ity and in­surer be­fore go­ing ahead. Many coun­cils are re­lax­ing the rules for the event.

Alice Mar­shall, who is Brad­ford Coun­cil’s tour co-or­di­na­tor, says: “We have a sec­tion ded­i­cated to the Tour on the coun­cil web­site so there’s lots of in­for­ma­tion there. If you are un­sure about what is and is not al­lowed then con­tact us to check. One of the big is­sues is signs. We are re­lax­ing rules a lit­tle but we have to be very care­ful about them block­ing driver vi­sion.”

The In­land Rev­enue should also be in­formed as in­come earned from camp­sites and car park­ing is tax­able, says tax ad­vi­sor Richard White­lock, of Gar­butt and El­liott.

“HMRC must be con­tacted no later than Oc­to­ber 5, 2015, and any in­come tax ow­ing would be due for pay­ment by Jan­uary 31, 2016. For those al­ready in the self as­sess­ment sys­tem, they sim­ply need to en­sure this one-off in­come is re­ported.”

So the in­land rev­enue will ben­e­fit from the Tour too, though only tem­po­rar­ily. The property mar­ket could see long-last­ing ef­fects. Es­tate agent Tim Gower, of Robin Jes­sop’s in Leyburn, says: “The long-term ben­e­fits of show­ing off such a breath­tak­ing land­scape to a world­wide au­di­ence could ben­e­fit the area for years to come.”

The Grand Dé­part pushes off on July 5, If you fancy buy­ing a property on the route, there are plenty of op­tions, in­clud­ing those pic­tured here.

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